First let me say how thrilled I was when I first learned about you and your online backup services, I especially liked the part where I could get 2GB free and expand it with 0.5GB for each friend I referred – a great way to start out with your service.
I also liked your layout and simplicity – both on the website and in the Mac client. It just seemed to work well, very easy and flawless. It didn’t take me long before I was so hooked on you, that I purchased a 1 month subscription at $5 to get unlimited backup space and really test out your service before I made a final commitment to you as my offsite backup.
It took me less than 20 hours to backup my 55GB Aperture 3 photo library which was one of the main things I wanted to backup offsite, along with other minor data. A reasonable speed, considering that subsequent backups, after the initial backup, would be much faster since they are incremental.
At this time I had already referred several friends, co-workers and blog readers to you, Mozy.
Then, for some reason, you decided to let me down. I knew that, before I was able to trust you completely as my offsite backup service, I would need to do a successful restore – and that’s the one area where you really let me down. Using the in-client restore method meant I had to restore all 55GB in one stretch, there’s no way to resume a restore. Since my Aperture 3 photo library is likely to grow over time, this could end up becoming maybe 100GB in a year or two. That’s a lot of data to download in one stretch. I still haven’t decided on a “library structure” where I could divide my Aperture 3 library into smaller libraries, but I don’t want to limit myself into smaller libraries because my backup service doesn’t do a good enough job at the restore part.
As per suggestion from your support, which by the way, always seem to respond within a day and often helpful, I tried to do a web restore instead. First, it took your website around 45 minutes to prepare my download, then it took another 4-5 hours before all my 55GB were ready for download. I could, however, begin to download files before then. I say files, because my 55GB was split into 31 smaller .DMG files that I had to download individually using a web browser.
Trying to download the first 3 files, worth around 1.7 GB each, I learned that restoring them would become really cumbersome. Either I had to find/purchase an application that would allow me to “copy and merge” files and folders automatically, or I had to manually drag and drop folders to merge them together. Here’s what you’re doing to my files, Mozy…
So I download “Restore 1.dmg” which contains the following folders: “Folder A” and “Folder B”. Then I download “Restore 2.dmg” which also holds a “Folder B” with some files in it, but also “Folder C” and “Folder D”. Dragging out “Folder B” from “Restore 1.dmg” is no problem. But when I want to drag out “Folder B” from “Restore 2”, Mac OS X asks if I want to replace – not merge. My only solution is to enter the restored “Folder B” to manually drag the contents over and avoid replacing the folder – the real problem occurs if there are more subfolders. It just gets even trickier and there’s a high risk of forgetting something or messing up.
That’s just not good enough, Mozy.
On the plus side, Mozy, you seem like a pretty good online backup service if I didn’t have too many GB’s of data or if I had a really good folder structure, which Aperture 3, iPhoto etc. doesn’t have – and frankly, it doesn’t need to, since humans are not supposed to poke around in them. Mozy also supports “backup sets”, making it really easy to take backups, of for example Address Book, iCal calendar, Bookmarks etc – and they are very easy to restore again, since the amount of data is not in the range of several GB’s (in fact, usually only a few MB’s).
That’s why I’m leaving you, Mozy. At least with my important data. I’ll still be using your Mozy 2GB free service to back up less important files from my Mac Mini media center. It was a pleasure doing business with you but I’m happy that we can end our relationship already, and not when I some day really really really need to do a restore and find out how cumbersome it is.
In my search for an alternative to Mozy, I’ve tried Backblaze, iDrive, Keepit and CrashPlan. I didn’t try Arq or Jungle Disk as they use the more expensive Amason S3 and Rackspace datacenters for storage, but they seem like good services too. So far, CrashPlan is my favorite and I’m currently testing it out, I’ve read multiple places about people taking the switch from Mozy to CrashPlan (or BackBlaze, if you prefer their “exclusion”-based model). I will do another blog post once I’ve decided if CrashPlan is the online backup service I’ll be using from now on. It will have to pass a restore test though (it has passed my smaller tests without problems and it even supports “resume” for both backups and restores, in-client).
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP WITH MOZY? If you have signed up with Mozy based on my previous recommendations, I’m sorry if I might have wasted your time (and money). Please, before it’s too late, try to do a restore of your most important data, to make sure that it suits your needs (be sure to restore it to a different location on your hard drive, so you don’t overwrite your live data). If it works as expected, great, I’m sure you will remain happy with Mozy. Otherwise, I encourage you to take your data elsewhere and also do a few backup/restore tests there, to make sure your data is easily accessible when it matters.
Remember, a backup of your data on an external drive is not really a backup. What will happen to your external drive in case of a break-in or a fire? If you really care about your data, you also need to store it offsite, encrypted of course.